Ask Gary what he’d like for dinner any day of the year, and stir-fry will be the first words to come out of his mouth. Hey, easier than duck confit, right? (He would not get duck confit.)
Cookbook writers will fill you in on the same few things about stir-fries, but here’s the reality: The best way to get good at making stir-fries is to read through the recipe before starting (no news there), then giving it a go. No amount of studying will make you a better stir-fryer than making a couple.
The small amount of cornstarch in this recipe gives the sauce just a bit of thickening for some nice texture and body.
Thai Chicken Stir Fry
FORK IN THE ROAD: Chicken for those who like it, tofu for those who don’t—bright Thai flavors all around.
- ⅓ cup chicken or vegetable broth, preferably low-sodium
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1 bell pepper, any color, stemmed, seeded, and cut into slivers
- 2 cups sugar snap or snow peas, destringed
- 4 scallions, white and light green parts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1½ pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs, diced or thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup thinly sliced basil leaves (regular or Thai basil)
- 1 jalapeño, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into the thinnest slices you can manage (optional)
- Juice of ½ lime
- Hot rice (jasmine is nice), for serving if desired
- Whisk together the broth, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch. Set the sauce aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or a very large skillet over high heat. Add the bell pepper, sugar snap peas, and scallions and stir-fry until just starting to become tender, 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the pan, add the chicken and garlic, and stir-fry until the chicken is almost cooked through, about 3 minutes (dark meat may take 4 or 5 minutes). Return the vegetables to the skillet, add the basil, and jalapeño, if using, and stir to blend. Re-whisk the sauce, add it to the pan, and stir for 1 to 2 minutes more to allow it to thicken up a bit. Serve over rice if desired, with the lime juice squeezed on top.